LITTLE ROCK – Customers of Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corp. (OECC) will soon have access to an optional on-bill financing program for energy efficiency improvements to their homes as a result of an order by the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) last month.
OECC had requested authority to establish “Pay As You Save” (PAYS), a voluntary program that will finance individually customized energy efficiency (EE) projects at residential, municipal, or small commercial buildings, that are paid by clearly defined savings over a given time.
Given that the majority of participants will be residential, it is likely most projects will consist of:
- High efficiency air source or ground source heat pumps;
- High efficiency air conditioning and gas furnaces;
- Duct sealing and insulation;
- Building envelope sealing and insulation; and
- Commercial and residential high efficiency lighting.
The program is not a loan program and instead uses a tariffed on-bill service charge to eliminate the need for a personal loan or up-front cash investment by cooperative members. The OECC is allowed to charge for this service through a monthly fee over a period not to exceed a portion of the expected life of the measure and the structure. The cooperative member, at worst, will pay no more than if the project was never done. OECC’s prior installation of smart meters will allow the cooperative to compare current bills at a location where measures were installed to estimated savings and to investigate the cause if projected savings do not appear to materialize.
The APSC issued is approving order in Docket 15-106-TF. OECC’s PAYS program is similar to on bill finance programs that have recently been approved in New Hampshire, Kansas, Hawaii, and Kentucky.